Obi Worldphone MV1: an entry-level phone for young professionals

If you think the world has enough smartphone models, Obi Worldphone would beg to differ. The company, which partly owes its 15 minutes of fame to former Apple CEO John Sculley, believes it has a point to sell, that beauty doesn't need to come at a higher price than normal. To prove that point, it is launching its third ever smartphone, the Obi Worldphone MV1, a smartphone that is, on paper, designed for young professionals in emerging markets. In practice, it bears a strange mix of low-end specs, a mid-range screen, and Obi Worldphone's odd design taste.

In terms of that design, there is perhaps little to differentiate the MV1 from its older siblings, the SF1 and SF1.5, except in size. It is actually closer to the SF1.5 both in that extent as well as in some features, but goes even lower and smaller. Despite that, it still has Obi's unique design elements, like a curved bottom edge paired with a flat, chiseled top, and a "floating display", which some OEMs have called "2.5D Arc" or something similar.

In terms of specs, the MV1 is an odd beast as well. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 212, you'd expect this to be on the lower end of the scale. But the 5.0-inch HD screen would make you think again. There are two configurations available, both with 16 GB of expandable memory, but one of them has 2 GB of RAM. The other 1 GB only. The 8 megapixel f/2.2 main camera and 2 megapixel front camera, however, pulls you back to entry-level reality.

As a smartphone meant to be marketed at those young professionals, the Obi Worldphone MV1 does at least boast of 4G LTE connectivity. In fact, it also has dual SIM slots, which is quite common in the emerging market category as well. The smartphone runs Android, naturally, but not just any Android. Inside is Cyanogen OS 12.1, based on Android 5.1, which brings its own unique set of features, like TrueCaller ID and LiveDisplay adatpive display.

For all of these, Obi Worldphone will charge only $139 for the 1 GB RAM model and $149 for double the memory. Sales begin immediately in Asia and Africa, while Latin America and Europe will get theirs in March. Available colors include black, red, and white.